Eddies began their NZ tour with a hard fought win over fellow EREA school St. Kevin’s Oamaru. In ideal conditions SEC began well and lead 19 – 14 at half time. Half time adjustments saw some enterprising phases put together on the back end of consistent field position. Eddies began to build pressure and go forward with greater urgency and composure. A well-formed S and C off season saw the team finish well and deny SKC any line breaks or second half points. Post-game recovery provided ample evidence of a high quality physical match from which has assisted greatly in developing the technical and tactical knowledge skills of all players.
Eddies were beaten in Game 2 by St Thomas’ Christchurch to the tune of 22 to 17 after trailing 22 – 3 at half time. The SEC side struggled with the blustery conditions and produced a performance which was below self-set team expectations. At key times we lacked matching the enthusiasm and vigour required to be more competitive at this level. Team awareness of lack of transfer from training to match day has become a renewed focus as has the need for technical accuracy. Fair to say the match was a significant learning experience which will be of valuable resource in our upcoming domestic competitions.
The St Bedes fixture saw Eddies up against a proud and traditional rugby school who have a consistent record of success in NZ schools rugby. Eddies turned up to play and the effort and application to the task at hand was impressive. The Eddies forward pack were dominant at the breakdown proving powerful but lacking accuracy at key times. The Eddies backs were well organised in this outing and consolidated their alignment and communication issues from prior matches. Eddies were far from outplayed and certainly found the physicality required to compete at this level. The learning curve from this game will be a massive resource to draw from throughout the season when were turn home.
Eddies again were resourced with an excellent learning opportunity against Nelson College being defeated by a scoreline of 29-10. The half time score was 24-3.Far from well beaten Eddies made some poor decisions at key times being careless in ball retention and aspects of our pressure game. Very pleasing effort across both halves was a key feature but aspects of our support play eroded our desire to maintain continuity and hence control of the game. Our team tour review was a time to consolidate our readiness for upcoming opportunities upon return back home and to target self-set goals with required adherence to our team principles and the need to remain focused on playing and preparing for one game at a time. Our squad hopefully has a greater understanding of the need “to make your bed “every morning and the point of difference this makes on and off the field as young men.
And so the tour ends. Tales of hakas, tries scored, opportunities missed, wifi connections, prehab sessions, physical contact training, playbook adjustments, billets, gum boots, hobbits, jet boats, thermal springs, boarding houses and many other memories and experiences have been preserved. So to and as importantly, has the absolute certainty that our team has been welcomed back everywhere we went and will be spoken of highly by all whom we mixed with or visited. Importantly strong bonds have also been forged between a great group of young men who faced head on each challenge and opportunity presented to them- more often than not disguised as hard work and requiring extension of one’s mental and physical parameters.
And so the tour ends I began with. Upon deeper reflection it is really only the beginning of the next stage of the on and off field opportunities ahead of this squad as both individual and team. Of these leadership, the facing of adversity, confronting threat, individual self-assessment and working together towards common goals have been paramount and are now to a certain extent assumed knowledge and well within the capacity of each involved. In terms of rugby our key areas requiring improvement and addressing at training have been well and truly exposed by the high quality opposition we played. These games were carefully chosen because they were hard, against tough opposition…. not because they were easy. And so we look forward to the business of the beginning of the season and in doing so will be mindful of internal team business – especially in regard to our 5 team principles, that winning and losing is deeper than the scoreboard, and to remember the absolute mantra and need “to always make your bed in the morning”. The tour has placed SEC Open Rugby in a position above our internalised “line of performance” where ownership, accountability and responsibility in all facets of life at Eddies are demanded.
First XV Coach